Esther Rose: You Made It This Far

As a Detroit native, Esther Rose knows a thing or two about music. Combine this with the lulling melodies of her home of New Orleans and you’ve got her beautifully simplistic new album You Made It This Far.

Starting with old fashioned Dixieland violins, “Handyman” is full of New Orleans influence. The chorus is earnest and upbeat with a confident sense ofencouragement. With a rumbling drum plodding along, it is a great toe-tapping track.

“Only Loving You”, on the other hand, starts wearyingly, like an already tired and tested lover. However, it juts straight into a beautifully upbeat reprise with simple melodies that warms your heart. It’s an innocent love song with a joy that is only found in youthful love. It sounds like someone trying to be mature in their approach to love but it is punctured with giddy exploding bubbles of it. This is a track
that will make you smile from ear to ear.

The French influence of New Orleans heard during the introduction of “Sex and Magic”. It’s a disgruntled lullaby that reduces love to a subtlety animalistic act. While “Only Loving You” is bounding and light, “Sex and Magic” is all that’s left after the giddiness is gone. Even witchcraft can’t help but it is this mystic desperation that is converted into a track that extracts the bare bones of a relationship and throws them into a repeated chorus that is more a vehicle for reassurance than anything else.

“Don’t Blame It On The Moon” is probably the closest thing to a traditional country song on the album. Simply sung by Rose accompanied by a guitar, the track is pleading. Pleading not to break hearts or maybe just pleading for trust. In the end, this track is a track about Rose pleading with herself. It may start in earnest but it is a subtle nod to self-deprecation and belief and how it can sneak up on you.

With this album, Rose takes old school country and rural folk and mixes these sounds with unexpectedly hard-hitting lyrics. It is the sound of hard Michigan winters with warm sticky Louisiana summers. And maybe that’s why only after a few listens, it starts to feel like home. Roses music make even the most challenging lyrical subjects romantic. It’s a deceptively deep album that should be on the top of everyone’s listening list.

Rating: 8.7/10